"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at
November 2011 - Issue #13
IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE:
* PROJECT RICKMAN CONTINUES - I got it done, now I wanna sell it!
* BROOKS CYCLES AUCTION - Historic Motorcycle Shop is auctioned off, one bike at a time!
* I NEED YOUR HELP - You like taking surveys, right?
* STEVE JOBS WEBSITE - I mentioned it last issue but forgot to write about it. My bad.
* AND OF COURSE, MORE WEIRD STUFF - A Harley Triple?
THE BACK STORY
As you will recall, I gave myself a challenge last January at theMidAmerica Classic Motorcycle Auction in Las Vegas, to buy a bike each year that I could sell at the auction & make enough on to pay for the whole trip. Not a lofty goal perhaps, but you don't have to change the world overtime. This was doable, yet challenging, but not so much that it would take the fun out of it for me. And I could cover the whole process for my website also. So, shortly after my return home, I cinched a super deal on this gorgeous little '73 Rickman-Montessa 250 vintage motocrosser (price to remain undisclosed until after the auction), got it home, then forgot about it for a few months. However, with the mid-November deadline looming for MidAmerica's printed auction catalog, I sprang into action last month.
STRIPPED TO THE BONE
I have lost so much money on fixer-upper cars & motorcycles in my life that I vowed not to buy one this time. I am convinced that the only way to make money on normal motorcycles (as opposed to high-end collector bikes) is not to have to do any repairs or replace anything. To do that, you have to buy a bike that needs no repairs or parts replaced. Not easy to do. But I did it on this Rickman. It was mechanically perfect when I bought it. It even has brand new tires that still have the rubber nibs & the factory paint stripe on the tread blocks. They've never been off a garage floor. And I'm going to keep it that way. I heard it run, it started in 3 kicks cold & one kick when warmed up. I ran it through all the gears on a short strip of sidewalk. And that's good enough for me & I drained the gas out of it. It looked really nice with its bright red bodywork & nickel-plated frame. But when I polished one of the frame tubes & saw how nice it could look, I immediately stripped everything off of it: the tank, seat, fenders, air cleaner, foot pegs, brake cables, hand & foot controls. When I was done, there was nothing left but the bare frame with the engine, suspension & wheels, which I then hand-polished along with every component I had taken off.
TIME ELAPSED PHOTO SEQUENCE
When I was ready to reassemble it, I set up my photo booth in my garage, positioned the bare bike on it & I proceeded to produce a time-elapsed photo sequence that will blow your mind when you see it! With the camera fixed in position on a tripod, I took a photo of the bare frame. Then I put on the front fender & took another picture without moving the camera. Then the front brake cable & another picture. Then the coil…click, the air cleaner…click, the side cover…click, and so on, until I had completely reassembled the bike. I plan to edit them into a video that I'll publish on CBM's YouTube site.
So now they have my photos & all the info. However, I hadn't yet transferred the title on the bike into my name. So, I took it down to DMV, got a VIN Verification (it hadn't been in the system since 1979) & got it transferred. It could take as long as 60 days to get the title, which would take me right up to the auction date, but it probably won't take that long. I have to have a clear title in my name to sell it through MidAmerica Auctions. I'll keep you informed as we progress toward Vegas Auction Week (3 Classic Motorcycle Auctions in town at the same time, with almost 1,000 classic motorcycles between them).
BROOKS CYCLES SOLD OFF IN AUCTION
THE WORLD'S BIGGEST 'BARN FIND'
That's what auctioneer Doug Neale called it. Brooks Cycles was THE motorcycle shop in San Jose in the 1950s, 60s & early 70s, carrying at various times, Triumph, BSA, Suzuki, Hodaka, Laverda & Vespa. But they also dabbled in all sorts of other Classic Motorcycles, mostly Classic British Motorcycles. When old man Brook passed away many years ago, his widow closed up shop & never opened it to the public again. She passed away recently & the heirs decided to liquidate everything. Neale & Sons Auction Company was brought in to do the sale & they did an exemplary job.
TONS OF COOL BIKES…AND MORE
While the auction itself was held outside (& it threatened to rain all day), the bikes were kept inside & were open for preview the two days before the sale. While everything had a 30-year-thick layer of dust on it (or was that patina) there were some very nice bikes, some not-so-nice, and lots of "project bikes" (ie: bikes with no engines, engines with no frames, bikes with no tank or seat, or missing parts, or rusted beyond recognition). Interestingly, it was the ugly junk that went for more than expected, and the higher-end collector bikes went for less than they should have. There was lots of other cool stuff also, like classic motorcycle dealership signs from Triumph, BSA, Norton, Hodaka, Moto Guzzi & others, along with lots of posters, advertisements, manuals, parts, tools & other stuff. It was like stepping back in time. For all the details, including sales prices on some of the bikes, go to our page on the Brooks Cycles Auction<,br>
SURVEY - I NEED YOUR HELP
Having just celebrated our One-Year Anniversary last month, here at CBM, it reminded me of how far we've come in this our first year. We've come a long way, that's for sure. We went from zero pages with zero traffic to over 220 pages of rich content (loaded with eye-popping photos of gorgeous Classic British Motorcycles, of course) & we're generating over 50,000 page-views per month, which isn't too bad for a guy who has never built a website in his life before. So, here's what I need from you: I need you to answer just 3 simple questions:
#1 - WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE SITE?
#2 - DO YOU THINK ITS EASY TO USE & NAVIGATE?
#3 - WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE OF?
To take the survey please just email us. Your reward will be helping us to build CBM into a better site. Thanks for your help>
STEVE JOBS WEBSITE
What's this? What does a Steve Jobs website have to do with Classic British Motorcycles, anyway? It doesn't, but I'm the one who built it so, there's the connection. The same week of Steve Jobs' death, I heard about Steve Jobs'Biography and so I bought the book. Fantastic, what a read. It inspired me so much that I decided to build a website about Steve Jobs, his life, his accomplishments & of course, the machines that made him famous: APPLE computers, the iPod, the iPad, the iPhone, iTunes, Pixar & more.
STEVE JOBS BIOGRAPHY BY WALTER ISAACSON
(Click on book cover to Buy Book)
STEVE JOBS - WEIRDO
This guy was amazing & not just because he changed the world…4 or 5 times. He was also a very 'unique' individual. Did you know that he was a vegan most of his life and at times lived for months on only one type of food? He would not bathe for months, convinced that his pure diet made it unnecessary. His body odor was so bad that co-workers couldn't be in a small room with him for very long. At one point it was apples only for over a year. Later in life it was carrots, and when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, instead of opting for the life-saving operation, he decided to rid himself of the cancer by purely 'natural' means. He ate only carrots & drank only carrot juice for a year, did acupuncture, natural herbs & tried to rid his mind of all negative thoughts (not easy for Jobs, who was known to be quite nasty to those around him). Of course, the natural cures did nothing & by the time he decided to go the medical approach a couple of years later, it was too late, the cancer had spread. Very sad, but rather than slow him down, it actually sped him up. He realized his days were numbered & that he had a lot left to accomplish. He certainly did. He conceived the iPhone during this period & changed the world one more time.
A GENIUS IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN
Despite all his personal quirks, or perhaps because of them, Steve Jobs was able to see things and do things that no one else could have. And he was able to impart his vision to others, inspire the troops, and even enlist the help of adversaries such as Bill Gates & Disney, all through the use of his "Reality Distortion Field". Insiders said he could literally bend reality before their eyes & take something that looked impossible & turn it into their next project. Reading this book has literally changed me. Not that I want to be like Jobs. He was a hard-driving, single-minded, obsessive perfectionist & I don't think I'm wired that way. But, I can stand to be a little more like him, in some ways. What ways? You're just going to have to read it for yourself & draw your own conclusions. But, I don't think you can read it without being affected by it. Please visit my new website for more information about Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson, and Steve Jobs himself. There's some good stuff there. And while you're there, please order the book through my site. I would appreciate it.
ANDY'S WEIRD STUFF
A HARLEY TRIPLE?!
Check this out. I saw it in Danville CA's "Hot Summer Nights" Car Show a few years back. It's called a Fueling W3 and it is just what it looks like: a Harley big twin with one more cylinder sticking out the front. All three Vs are at 45 degrees, with the front & rear jugs at 90-degrees. Jim Fueling was working with Harley & came up with the idea of adding a third cylinder to Harley's V-twin as a way to get more power & displacement out of essentially just a modification of its existing design, using existing tooling. Harley said no, so Fueling went off & started building them on his own. Very cool. Wicked sounding. And way fast!!!
Hope you enjoyed this issue of "BRIT IRON" as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please tell your friends about it, and my website, Classic-British-Motorcycles.com. And please urge them to subscribe to this e-zine. It is my hope that the right people will discover this website & tell the right people, who will then pass it along to more of the right people, and...well, you get the ideal.
Thanks for all your interest & support,
PS: I'd love to hear from you, get your comments, ideas, suggestions, criticisms, whatever. Please contact me.
And above all, enjoy the ride...